This How To Migrate UniFi Network (former called UniFi Controller) helps to migrate from one device to another. If you know how, it’s actually quite easy. Just follow this guide.
Index of Migrate UniFi Network (Controller)
- Migrate UniFi Network (Controller)
- Additional Information
I have migrated a couple of months ago my UniFi Network (former called UniFi Controller) instance from a Raspberry Pi 3 installation to a Raspberry Pi 4 Model B instance. Over the time I saw that the Raspberry Pi 4 is having boring times since its resources are not really leveraged by UniFi Network.
Meanwhile I found another cool project that is RetroPi and I decided to migrate back my UniFi Network instance to the Raspberry Pi Model 3 whilst leveraging on the Raspberry Pi Model 4 for the RetroPi project.
This little guide explains how I migrated UniFi Network from Raspberry Pi 4 Model B to Raspberry Pi 3 Model B. A classical hardware downgrade 🙂
To get the migration done, I share with you a couple of steps that should not only work for Raspberry Pi, but also for other Linux based systems.
- Download the latest Raspberry Pi Imager
- Install the Raspberry Pi Imager or update your existing Raspberry Pi Imager by the in step 1 downloaded Raspberry Pi Imager
- Start the newly installed Raspberry Pi Imager / the updated Raspberry Pi Imager
- Choose the OS. In the case of this How To I have selected
– Raspberry Pi OS (other)
– Raspberry Pi OS Lite (32-bit) – A port of Debian Bullseye with no desktop environment
- Select the storage device you like to install the Raspberry Pi OS image. Typically a SD Card.
- Consider to configure headless SSH before you write the Image. If you do this, you will be able to access the Raspberry Pi without a screen, but securely by SSH. For an easy How To check out this How To Setup Raspberry 3B For Headless SSH.
- If you run Raspberry (like I do) without a monitor and manage it only remotely by SSH, then you can give Raspberry some additional Memory that is reserved for the GPU. This basically means, we now reduce the 64 MB RAM allocated for the GPU (needed for the graphical user interface) and make it available to the rest of the Raspberry. Run the below command:
– Select “4. Performance Options”
– Select “P2 GPU Memory”
– Change the “64” to “16”
– Enter, Finish and Restart
- After the Restart, login to your Raspberry leveraging on SSH because we need it for the following second phase.
These easy steps will help you to get UniFi Network (former UniFi Controller) installed on a Raspberry Pi 3B.
- Update your Raspberry by running the below four commands:
sudo apt update sudo apt full-upgrade -y sudo apt autoremove -y sudo apt-get autoclean -y
- Once updated, lets install (or Update) to Java 8 that is needed for UniFi Network. Run:
sudo apt-get install openjdk-8-jre-headless -y
- Add the UniFi Network (former UniFi Controller) repository. To do so, run these two commands:
echo 'deb http://www.ui.com/downloads/unifi/debian stable ubiquiti' | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/100-ubnt-unifi.list sudo wget -O /etc/apt/trusted.gpg.d/unifi-repo.gpg https://dl.ubnt.com/unifi/unifi-repo.gpg
- Let’s install UniFi Network. Run:
sudo apt-get update; sudo apt-get install unifi -y
In case you see an error message that is about mongodb-server, then check out the following additional step: Error message: Mongodb. Once done, run the same command again:
sudo apt-get update; sudo apt-get install unifi -y
- UniFi Network (UniFi Controller) has installed in step 4 MongoDB. This comes with a default database. This default database is not needed and should therefore for security and resources reasons be removed. This we do by the execution of the below two commands:
sudo systemctl stop mongodb sudo systemctl disable mongodb
- Once steps 1-5 were done successfully, we reboot the system. This also allows to check whether after a reboot everything is working properly.
Once you successfully completed Phase One and Phase Two, you now should be ready to migrate from the old installation to the new one. To get this done we consider the following:
- The existing installation, on which UniFi Network currently is working is called “OLD”
- The target installation, means the new UniFi Network installation to which you would like to migrate is called “NEW”
Check whether the new installation is working
First, we login to the NEW installation in order to check whether everything is working as expected. To do so, we open an internet browser and type: https://IP_ADDRESS_OF_NEW_INSTALLATION:8443. For example: https://192.168.1.100:8443. If the installation was successful, a screen like the below should show up (depending on your browser you maybe need to confirm first, that you are OK to continue with a by the browser not considered secure connection):
If you get the above window, then GREAT! Follow the next steps!
Backup the OLD UniFi Network (Controller)
Login to your OLD UniFi Network (Controller). In your OLD UniFi Network (Controller) execute the following steps:
- Klick on “Settings”
- Klick on “System”
- Scroll down and to “Backup” and click “Download Backup”. Select the option of “No Limit” or if you like to limit, select which ever limit you prefer.
- Depending on your installation, the download maybe needs a bit of time. Once downloaded successfully, you have the migration file which you need for the next steps. Typically it’s stored (depending on your browser) in the Downloads folder and it’s called something like “network_backup_XX.YY.2023_17-37_v7.3.76.unf”.
Restore the OLD UniFi Network (Controller) to the NEW UniFi Network (Controller)
- Switch back now to the NEW installation. On this screen you click “Or restore setup from backup”.
- In the next step you will be asked to select the backup file which you like to restore. Of course you select the one that you just before downloaded from your OLD installation.
- After a while you will receive a message asking you whether you like to Restore the backup. You need to hit the red Restore button. Following this you will find a message like this “Backup restoration is in progress. Your Network application will reboot during this process.”. This can take a while… …. whilst you are training your patience (this can take seconds to dozents minutes) you can watch the computer working by firing the below command into the terminal of the NEW installation:
This will output something like this:
top - 19:51:07 up 3:25, 1 user, load average: 1.19, 0.85, 0.37 Tasks: 117 total, 1 running, 116 sleeping, 0 stopped, 0 zombie %Cpu(s): 22.6 us, 3.5 sy, 0.0 ni, 73.0 id, 0.0 wa, 0.0 hi, 0.9 si, 0.0 st MiB Mem : 971.7 total, 86.3 free, 550.8 used, 334.5 buff/cache MiB Swap: 100.0 total, 98.7 free, 1.2 used. 368.5 avail Mem PID USER PR NI VIRT RES SHR S %CPU %MEM TIME+ COMMAND 530 unifi 20 0 1353880 497924 16592 S 82.2 50.0 10:56.61 java 914 unifi 20 0 511256 202104 170084 S 23.4 20.3 2:01.56 mongod 359 avahi 20 0 7180 3312 2704 S 1.3 0.3 0:28.29 avahi-daemon 1778 pi 20 0 14388 3876 3004 S 0.7 0.4 0:00.08 sshd 1833 pi 20 0 11248 2980 2516 R 0.7 0.3 0:00.25 top 1801 root 20 0 0 0 0 I 0.3 0.0 0:00.43 kworker/0:0-events 1 root 20 0 33776 8836 7072 S 0.0 0.9 0:04.41 systemd 2 root 20 0 0 0 0 S 0.0 0.0 0:00.04 kthreadd 3 root 0 -20 0 0 0 I 0.0 0.0 0:00.00 rcu_gp 4 root 0 -20 0 0 0 I 0.0 0.0 0:00.00 rcu_par_gp 5 root 0 -20 0 0 0 I 0.0 0.0 0:00.00 slub_flushwq 6 root 0 -20 0 0 0 I 0.0 0.0 0:00.00 netns 10 root 0 -20 0 0 0 I 0.0 0.0 0:00.00 mm_percpu_wq 11 root 20 0 0 0 0 S 0.0 0.0 0:00.00 rcu_tasks_rude_ 12 root 20 0 0 0 0 S 0.0 0.0 0:00.00 rcu_tasks_trace 13 root 20 0 0 0 0 S 0.0 0.0 0:00.59 ksoftirqd/0 14 root 20 0 0 0 0 I 0.0 0.0 0:04.68 rcu_sched 15 root rt 0 0 0 0 S 0.0 0.0 0:00.00 migration/0 16 root 20 0 0 0 0 S 0.0 0.0 0:00.00 cpuhp/0 17 root 20 0 0 0 0 S 0.0 0.0 0:00.00 cpuhp/1 18 root rt 0 0 0 0 S 0.0 0.0 0:00.00 migration/1 19 root 20 0 0 0 0 S 0.0 0.0 0:00.10 ksoftirqd/1
Anytime you can close this by simply press the “q” for quit on your keyboard. Once the backup is finished, you will see once the login screen appears. This should look like this:
Test whether everything is working by login. NOTE: You will not yet find your devices! For migrating your devices being online. You will rather find them offline. This because your devices still believe they belong to your OLD controller. For this reason, we need to tell them that they belong to a NEW UniFi Network (Controller). To do so, follow the next chapter.
Request your devices to migrate
In this final step we are going to tell the UniFi devices to migrate to the NEW UniFi Network (Controller). To do so, follow these steps:
- Login to the OLD UniFi Network (Controller)
- Click “Settings”
- Click “System”
- Within “Site Management” click on “Export Site”.
- Read carefully the guidance and click “Download the Site Export File”
- Once downloaded click on “Continue”
- Now the menu will tell you to go to the NEW UniFi Network (Controller). This however we have not to do, since we already restored the full backup before. We continue by clicking “Continue”.
- A new window pop’s up. It’s basically asking you the IP of the NEW UniFi Network (Controller). Of course you enter the IP Address and the port of the NEW UniFi Network (Controller). Furthermore, you select the devices to be migrated. In my case, all of them. Click “Migrate Devices”
- You will see the summary and you need to click “Device_Actions_Forget_Label_Plural”. This looks like the menu was not made properly. However, I click it.
- Another message looking like this: “DEVICE_ACTIONS_FORGET_CONFIRM_MESSAGE_PLURAL” will be shown. This looks like strange, but click the “Forget” button
- Finally you see a message telling you devices were removed.
- Move to the NEW UniFi Network (Controller) and check whether the devices become online. NOTE: This can take seconds, up to dozens of minutes. The devices will disappear in the OLD controller.
- You are done. Enjoy managing your network with the new controller.
There is a likelihood that you receive an error message like the below one. This chapter helps you to fix it.
Some packages could not be installed. This may mean that you have requested an impossible situation or if you are using the unstable distribution that some required packages have not yet been created or been moved out of Incoming. The following information may help to resolve the situation: The following packages have unmet dependencies: unifi : Depends: mongodb-server (>= 2.4.10) but it is not installable or mongodb-10gen (>= 2.4.14) but it is not installable or mongodb-org-server (>= 2.6.0) but it is not installable Depends: mongodb-server (< 1:4.0.0) but it is not installable or mongodb-10gen (< 4.0.0) but it is not installable or mongodb-org-server (< 4.0.0) but it is not installable E: Unable to correct problems, you have held broken packages.
The error message is most likely caused because UniFi does not support the latest version of MongoDB. For this reason wee need to allow installing an older version. To fix this situation run:
echo 'deb http://archive.raspbian.org/raspbian stretch main contrib non-free rpi' | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/raspbian_stretch_for_mongodb.list
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